the rack

the rack The Rack is my computer. Its not really the name of my computer. My computer has no name, I just came up with it. I needed a short word that I could make an icon out of. That's that red stuff you see on the left.

Since I majored in Computer Engineering, I do know a thing or two about computer *gasp*, and surprise surprise, I'm gonna have an entire page dedicated to my past and present computers, so let's get it on!


This history bit is quite a long piece. I didn't expect it to turn out this long. If you aren't interested, and would only like to know about my CURRENT system, then click here.

The first computer I actually had running at my home was actually an orange Radio Shack unit with one of those nasty green monochrome monitors. Everything was built into the monitor, so there's no chassis or anything, kinda like an iMac now. It booted up straight into GW-Basic, and I didn't use it much as I was computer illiterate at the time *gasp again*

Sango1 After an eon, it was finally upgraded to a 386DX-25 with a 40MB HDD. However, again I wasn't really using it much because I was still relatively computer illiterate at the time (oh, the horror!). Then sometime in 1993, this game called Sango Fighter, which is basically a Street Fighter clone with ancient chinese generals as its characters(wow, cool) became popular with my clique, and soon I was hooked onto the game. Thus began my slow journey towards geekdom. 40MB soon became cramped, and a new 250MB HDD was bought, pre-installed with this other game called Wolfenstein 3D. The pretty graphics and amazing gameplay (hey, it was 1993, give me a break) fueled my thirst for more...MORE!

DOOM Then in 1994, DOOM was released. Hey it was by the same makers of Wolfenstein 3D, so I bought it, but sadly my trusty 386 was too slow to play it. So began my next upgrade...this was the first time I actually built my own system, the previous one was built by my dad. My next computer then turned out to be a 486DX/2-66 with 8MB RAM and a Cirrus Logic 1MB graphics card. It kicked ass in 1994-1995, when I built it, and it would run DOOM(yay)!

That particular system lasted me until late 1996, when I left Singapore to go to Michigan for college. I didn't miss it much by then, as it was getting to be slow as hell. I inherited my brother's system when I was in Michigan. He had just graduated from Cornell then, so he just shipped his system over to Michigan. It was a Pentium 120 system, the other parts I had forgotten. Cool, a Pentium finally, but it turned out the motherboard was so crap that it was performing like a dog. After putting up with it for a few months, I discovered Tom's Hardware Guide, the then de facto website for computer hardware tweaking, reviews, and other stuff. I looked around and finally upgraded to a REAL motherboard, the classic Asus P/I-P55T2P4, and saw the performance jump straightaway. Then the word "overclocking" was introduced to me, and there was no turning back. I ran my P-120 at 125MHz using an 83MHz bus speed, upgraded to 48MB EDO-DRAM, and did a couple of other upgrades, but soon the CPU was holding me back again.

Uh oh...time to upgrade again. The year - 1997. The CPU - Pentium 200MMX. It wasn't the fastest kid on the block even then, but that was all a poor college student like me could afford at the time. Besides, I clocked it up to 250MHz in the end, for a net performance increase of about 100% compared to my previous system. However, it bugged me that I still could not play the original Quake that my other carnasaur friends had gave me for my previous birthday in 1996 in hardware 3D mode. Big whoopdy doo. I still had a 4MB Leadtek Winfast S600 video card with an S3 Virge chip, and my pitiful attempts at playing GLQuake by copying the opengl32.dll file from my Windows directory to my Quake directory had resulted in a miserable slide show. So, again I needed MORE SPEED! This time in the graphics department

Rendition At that time, ask anyone about 3D gaming hardware and they'd think of Voodoo. The original Voodoo kicked so much ass it wasn't even funny, but it also costed a few Franklins...a few Franklins that I didn't have. I picked one of the cheaper alternatives. In fact, I picked the cheapest one - a 4MB Diamond Stealth II S220 with a Rendition V2100 chipset. It was about as fast as a Voodoo, had 64-bit 2D graphics(albeit relatively slow), and had the best 3D image quality at the time. In fact, even in 2000 its image quality would be considered decent sans the latest DX support. I was in fragging heaven when my system, which originally could only muster about 18FPS doing software Quake, would now do 25FPS in Quake 2 hardware mode, 640x480. The card proved to be a great overclocker as well. I got it up to 68MHz from the default 40MHz after I attached an el cheapo green heatsink on it.

intel celeron inside However, soon the hardware upgrade bug would hit me again...this time in 1998. I opted for an almost complete upgrade since nothing important could really be carried over from my old system. The only stuff I kept was the floppy drive, keyboard, mouse, CD-ROM and monitor I believe. My choice was really a no-brainer at that time, the ubiquitous intel Celeron 300A/Abit BH6 combo. I chose a Malay unit just to be sure, but being a cheap bastard, I got the OEM version. I chose a 3dfx Voodoo 3 because of a hot deal I had found(can't argue with 45bux for a high-end video card =). I also replaced my IBM 14GXP HDD with a WD Expert 7200 20.5GB HDD(another hot deal). The rest of my system included 128MB SDRAM quickly upgraded to 256MB), an Inwin A500 case(quickly upgraded to an Addtronics 6896A), Diamond MX300 soundcard, NEC internal ATAPI Zip100 drive, my old 8X CD-ROM drive, FDD, keyboard/mouse and 17" CTX 1785XA monitor. A few of these components would are still being used for my current system.

The C300A proved to be a great overclocker, doing 464MHz at default voltage right from the get-go. However, 504MHz would prove a challenge. Using the Globalwin FAB24 dual fan Celeron HSF, 504MHz was flaky at best. So, I made do with 464MHz for a few months before getting what was then arguably the best SECC heatsink in the world - The Alpha P125M60. That mutha was huge, and performed like a champ. It made 504MHz a possibility, however, it was still not 100% stable. For the remaining duration I had the Celeron 300A, I spent my time making it more and more stable. Meanwhile, I switched 2 monitors(from my 17" CTX to a Hitachi 21" refurbed monitor and then a Nokia 445Xpro 21"), did a dual monitor stint with the extra monitor and extra S3 Virge(upgraded to 32MB Creative Labs Savage4 card) I had lying around, upgraded to 256MB PC133 SDRAM and switched ISPs thrice.

Soon, my time in Michigan was up as I finally graduated. I would return to Singapore, but not without taking my system with me! Well, carrying back 2 monitors can be a pain, so I had to dump the dual monitor setup and just come home with my Nokia 445Xpro and the rest of my system =( The horror came to me when I received my credit card bills for the international shipping charges. More horror when I reached Singapore and heard clanking noises when I carried the box that contained my chassis upstairs, and discovered that my C300A was DEAD. Tis the end of a great era...the death of my C300A. I had to find a replacement, but I was broke, so I had to settle for the cheapest CPU that would fit my BH6 - the Mendocino Celeron 533. They didn't even have C533As for sale over here. This CPU was the worst overclocker I've ever had the experience of owning/using. It would only do 600MHz, even with the Globalwin CPM32 I ripped out from my old P200MMX system. It became more and more apparent, especially with most of my friends upgrading their systems to P3s and Athlons, that this system wouldn't last me at all. I needed more power again...MORE POWER, ARRRAARRAARRGGH.

The quest for power took me to the purchase of a Coppermine-128 Celeron 566MHz in late 2000, in hopes of bringing it to 850MHz and beyond. True enough, 850MHz was fairly stable initially once the stock Celeron HSF was replaced by an el cheapo Thermaltake GoldenOrb. This system was never meant to last for long, but was actually meant as a stop gap measure, in anticipation of my next major upgrade...I always had my mind set on the then over-achieving AMD Athlon processors, and then later the Thunderbirds and Palominos, but cash was short. By the time I had the cash, I was almost set on a Thoroughbred system on a KT400 based motherboard and a Matrox Parhelia, but when those components debuted one by one, they turned out to be huge disappointments, which was why the impending major upgrade was time and again delayed. Finally, I had enough of waiting. Besides, my system was turning out to be slower and less stable by the day. Seeing how the intel P4 Northwoods were handily handing the Athlons asses back to them on silver platters, I defected back to the dark side and decided to get an intel P4 based system.

I settled on a Gigabyte GA-8PE667 basic because the ABIT and ASUS i845PE boards were out of stock, and mated it with an intel P4 2.4B CPU, and 2x512MB Kingston PC3200 ValueRAM with Winbond BH-5 memory chips. A top of the line ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB served my graphical needs, but other than that I stuck with most of my older components. This system served me for slightly more than a year, and then the motherboard decided to give up on me (right after the 1 year warranty too, geez), which forced me to continue with my upgrade plans...yet again! I went with a cheap CPU/mobo upgrade option of a P4 2.8C and an Abit, and kept the rest of my system intact.

Soon enough, I was to leave Singapore to go to grad school at Cornell. What a great opportunity, or an excuse, whatever you call it, to get a new system. There was no doubt that I was gonna get an AMD Athlon 64 system, seeing how they're beating even the fastest P4EE/Prescott/LGA755 chips in almost everything. However, this story has come to and next upgrade would lead me to my present system...

that's it

Whew, if you actually made it this far you must a serious geek or be seriously bored. Still want more?? Check out my other computer pages by using the drop down menu below then.

©Copyright 2000-2007 Site created and maintained by